BAFA Rules Committee

Home page

Minutes of a meeting of the BAFA Rules Committee on 26 November 2011


  1. The Chairman welcomed those present to the seventh meeting of the reconstituted BAFA Rules Committee.
  2. The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 23 January 2010.
  3. The Committee noted that the actions agreed at the meeting on 23 January 2010 had been carried out.
  4. The Committee noted and confirmed the procedures outlined in the documents:
  5. The Committee reviewed the 2010 and 2011 rules changes. No problems had been reported.
  6. The Chairman reported that in July 2011 IFAF had added to its statutes:
    “Article 13 Rule of the games
    Each member of IFAF shall play American football in compliance with the Rules of the game issued by IFAF. Only IFAF may lay down and alter the Rules of the game. The Rules of the game committee proposes amendments and changes to the IFAF Executive committee for ratification.”
    Details of how IFAF was going to manage its rule-making process remained to be worked out, but the Chairman was confident (in his capacity as IFAF Rules Editor) that IFAF rules would reflect many of the innovations adopted by BAFA over the years.
  7. The Committee discussed a number of proposals for changes to 11-on-11 kitted rules for 2012.
    1. The Committee considered the NCAA 2011 rules changes. The Committee agreed to adopt all the changes.
    2. The Committee reviewed the differences between IFAF and BAFA rules and agreed to adopt IFAF provisions or remove BAFA provisions that were no longer significant, including:
      1. removing the need in BAFA for credentials to be worn in the team area
      2. reducing the maximum number of non-squad members allowed in the team area from 40 (BAFA) to 25 (IFAF)
      3. allowing the use of smaller balls in competitions involving female or junior players
      4. deleting obsolete BAFA rules regarding skateboard pads, tee-shirts, jewellery, taping and goal-keeping gloves
    3. The Committee reviewed the rules regarding mandatory minimum field markings and agreed that (in addition to current requirements) in 2013 5-yard lines and hash marks at the inbounds lines would be mandatory, and that in 2014 hash marks at the sideline would in addition be mandatory. It was also agreed that 10% was the margin of tolerance to be acceptable in terms of length or visibility.
    4. The Committee reviewed the rules regarding minimum medical provision. DA reported that in response to issues about the availability of ambulances during the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, from 2012 BAFANL would no longer require an ambulance to be present at all games. BAFANL would therefore be completely in line with the BAFA rule. No change to the existing BAFA rule was proposed.
    5. The Committee agreed to adopt a change to clock operating principles to permit the operator to stop the clock if he had positive knowledge that it should do so by rule. This should help experienced operators, without making the situation for inexperienced operators any different.
    6. The Committee agreed to have the 2-minute warning no earlier than 2'00 in each half to promote consistency of interpretation.
    7. The Committee agreed to align the under-19 and under-17 age ranges with the school year. This would mean slightly different cut-off dates for teams based in Scotland from those based in England and Wales, but a difference of a few days was not considered to be significant.
    8. The Committee reviewed the minimum coaching and officiating requirements for a game in light of the BAFA Board's decision to delay implementation of the proposed 2011 officiating standard for a year. It was agreed that the requirement for at least one coach to have BAFCA level 2 certification (in 2012-13) and at least one to have BAFCA level 3 certification (in 2014-15) would be dropped. It was further agreed that the requirement for all officials to hold a BAFRA certificate of competency or a BAFRA qualification (by 2012-13) would also be dropped. The Committee noted that it still wished for higher levels of qualification to be held by coaches and officials but accepted that the lack of development opportunities was impeding its implementation.
    9. The Committee agreed that the variations for junior (under-19) football were no longer appropriate nor required, so deleted them. This means that senior and junior football will both have the same rules regarding blocking below the waist, tripping the runner and scoring field goals on tries.
  8. The Committee discussed a number of changes to 5-on-5 rules for 2012.
    1. The Committee agreed to fix the length of the field of play to 50 yards (+/- 10 yards) and the width to 25 yards (+/- 5 yards). There had been much confusion since the 5-on-5 rules had been last issued. The decision was to standardise the size the field of play for a 5-on-5 contact to be the same as for flag football.
    2. The Committee agreed not to adopt a proposal to disallow any advance beyond the neutral zone by the player who receives the snap. The Committee indicated its keenness to see the 5-on-5 rules become simpler rather than to have lots of detail and exceptions.
  9. The Committee agreed to issue a note (Action JB) to correct some misconceptions about the rules; specifically that:
    1. the rules do not prohibit a player of any age playing both contact and flag competitions during the same season;
    2. it is the responsibility of individual competitions to set the maximum and minimum ages for players, but the range must be compatible with Rule 13-8-3
  10. The Committee agreed a number of proposed changes to the BAFA Disciplinary Code. These included:
    1. changes arising from changes to BAFA's Equality Policy
    2. making a double suspension and fine possible for any sort of appeal made inappropriately
    3. changes to the prohibitions involved in a total suspension
    4. making it clear that suspended penalties will normally only be used where there are clear extenuating circumstances that mitigate an accused's actions or intentions
    5. setting up a new team of disciplinary officers who can deal with any case rather than the previous separate Disciplinary and Appeal officers
    6. requiring members of disciplinary committees to declare any relationship with any party to the case
    7. the losing party may be required to pay the costs of arbitration through Sport Resolutions
    8. a number of other minor changes
  11. The Committee confirmed its decisions noted above and recommended that the BAFA Board should also give its final confirmation to the changes.
  12. The Committee agreed that existing British Points of Emphasis be continued.
  13. The Committee agreed that JB would continue his existing role of editing the rulebook (ACTION JB). It was agreed that for practical reasons, 11-on-11 and 5-on-5 rules would be published separately.
  14. The Committee agreed that a press release concerning the rules changes would be drawn up and that BAFA organisations be asked to bring it to the attention of their members (ACTION JB).
  15. It was noted that no progress had been made on setting up an 8-on-8 version of the sport and that various parties in Britain and internationally were proposing 6-on-6, 7-on-7, 8-on-8 and 9-on-9. It was agreed to press for 8-on-8 rules as being an appropriate step between 5-on-5 and 11-on-11.
  16. It was agreed that the date for the next meeting should be provisionally set for November 2013. A meeting conducted electronically may be held in November 2012 if necessary to discuss any changes for 2013.
  17. The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.
Last updated